(Natural News) Insect bites often trigger a mildly painful and itchy skin reaction. While insect bites typically do not cause anything more than minor discomfort, they may cause severe inflammation and redness if they trigger an allergic reaction.
Still, most insect bites can easily be treated at home. The following are 10 natural remedies that can alleviate pain, swelling and itching caused by insect bites.
Aloe vera gel
As a natural antiseptic, aloe vera can quickly relieve itchiness and inflammation. To treat insect bites, use a cotton swab and apply fresh aloe vera gel directly onto the affected area. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. Alternatively, you can chill fresh aloe vera gel for 10-15 minutes before rubbing it on the affected area.
Basil leaves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can instantly relieve itchy skin. To make a basil rub, boil two cups of water and add half an ounce of basil leaves. After the mixture has cooled, dip a washcloth into the mixture and rub it on the affected area. You can also chop fresh basil and rub it on the skin directly.
Chamomile is popular as an herbal tea, but it can also be used to treat irritated skin and reduce inflammation due to its high antioxidant content. To treat an insect bite, steep a tea bag containing dried chamomile flowers in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Afterward, squeeze out the excess water and apply the tea bag directly onto the insect bite. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Essential oils like tea tree, lavender and neem have potent antioxidants that can soothe painful bites and stings. Essential oils are generally not applied directly onto the skin as they are highly concentrated. So before application, dilute a few of drops of your chosen essential oil in a carrier oil. Essential oils like neem and mint can also act as natural insect repellents. (Related: Make your own natural anit-itch spray using essential oils.)
As a topical remedy, honey can reduce bumps and inflammation caused by bug bites. It also has antibacterial properties that prevent infection. To use honey, dab a small amount on the bite and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Repeat application as necessary. For best results, use raw, organic honey.
Ice is a popular go-to remedy for various types of bumps and inflammation. The coldness numbs the skin and gives immediate but temporary relief. But when using ice, do not place it directly on the skin as it can damage cells. Instead, use a washcloth or a cold compress. Leave it on the affected area until the ice starts to melt and repeat as necessary.
Lemons have potent anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects against insect bites. To treat one, take a lemon slice and rub it on the affected area. You can also create a lemon paste by mixing it with chopped basil or mint. These herbs can help reduce the stinging sensation caused by lemon.
Whole-grain oats have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce redness and treat swollen skin. To make an oatmeal paste, mix equal amounts of oats and water. It should be enough to cover the affected areas. Afterward, transfer a spoonful of the paste to a washcloth and apply it to the skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes then rinse it off.
Onions contain highly potent antibacterial and antioxidant compounds that can treat itchy, swollen skin. However, it is not advisable to apply the onion directly on an insect bite as it can cause a stinging sensation. Instead, create a paste by combining coconut oil and minced onion. Apply the paste and leave it on for 10 minutes. Repeat if itchiness persists.
Witch hazel is commonly used as a natural remedy for skin irritations, scrapes and minor cuts. The herb contains plant compounds known as tannins which can reduce inflammation and soothe irritated skin. To treat an itchy bug bite, dab a small amount of witch hazel extract on the bite and let it dry.
The best way to prevent insect bites is to cover your skin when you go outside, especially if it’s during sunrise or sunset when insects are particularly active. You can also eliminate possible insect breeding grounds in your property. Mosquitoes, for instance, like to breed in stagnant water, while bed bugs thrive in dirty linens and carpets.